We have been blessed with the opportunity to represent numerous families struggling after the loss of a family member. Our team has been enriched by the memories shared by those left behind and inspired by the boundless love that endures beyond death.
We know that a family’s pain is compounded in wrongful death claims because the loss was unexpected and caused by someone else’s negligence. This double-whammy of intense grief and anger complicates the healing process.

Some of your first questions might be: What is a wrongful death case like? Have you helped others like me? What types of financial recovery can be secured? It is important to the memory of your lost family member and the future of the remaining family members to pursue a legal investigation to fully understand what happened.

What Does “Wrongful Death” Mean?

Indianapolis Wrongful Death Lawyer

Let’s start by defining the basics. Wrongful death means a death caused by the negligence or wrongful action of another party. Wrongful death can be the basis for a suit against those who caused the wrongful death to occur. A lawsuit can be filed on behalf of the family members who are suffering the loss of company and financial support the deceased would have provided.

Wrongful Death Illustrations, Including Fault Possibilities

Examples of a wrongful death can include cases such as the following:

Those who can be sued in a given case can vary widely. For example, in a wrongful death suit in which both a drunk driver and a roadway defect were involved, those who could be sued might include:

  • The driver at fault, or the driver’s employer
  • The person who served, sold, or gave alcohol to the impaired driver
  • The owner of the location that served the alcohol
  • The builder or designer of the bad road
  • Any agent of the government who did not provide warnings concerning the road hazard
  • Anyone responsible for a faulty part in the vehicle, such as the manufacturer, the installer, or the distributor of the part.

What Are the Wrongful Death Laws in Indiana?

In Indiana, we have three legal statutes that define and set the parameters of wrongful death cases:

  • The Wrongful Death Act (General Wrongful Death Statute): Indiana Code 34-23-1-1. This Act covers those adults who suffer a wrongful death and leave behind spouses and dependents.
  • The Adult Wrongful Death Act: Indiana Code 34-23-1-2. This Act covers unmarried adults who experience a wrongful death and leave no dependents.
  • The Child Wrongful Death Act: Indiana Code 34-23-2-1. This Act legally defines a child for the purposes of a wrongful death case, and the damages for which the parent or guardian can sue.

The statutes spell out certain conditions under which a wrongful death case can be brought and also provide legal definitions. For example, a child is an unmarried adult with no dependents who is either under the age of 20 or under the age of 23 and attending some form of education past the high school level. In Indiana, a child can also be a fetus able to live outside the mother’s body (has attained viability).

Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Case?

Generally, only certain family members can sue on behalf of the person who suffered the wrongful death, meaning parents or legal guardians, spouses, and children, including adopted children. Both parents must file in the case of a child’s death if they are still married. If the parents are divorced, the parent with custody files. If that parent is deceased, a personal representative will be appointed to pursue the wrongful death case.

In Indiana, technically, it is the personal representative of the deceased’s estate who files the wrongful death suit; the family members become the estate’s beneficiaries and collect with the court. They will make the decision on how to split the proceeds of the damages among them should the case be won.

What Types of Damages Can Be Sought in a Wrongful Death Case?

Usually, you can sue for economic damages such as:

  • Medical expenses, including hospital and other facility costs
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Lost wages, along with any benefits the deceased probably would have received or earned, such as a pension
  • The costs of bringing the wrongful death suit, including attorney’s fees that are considered reasonable.
You are usually not allowed to sue for emotional distress, pain and suffering, or similar non-economic damages. However, you can ask for compensation for the loss of love and companionship.

If the adult who died was unmarried with no dependents, damages are capped at $300,000. It is the only damages cap mentioned in the laws.

If it was a child who died, you can sue for the following damages:

  • Medical expenses, including hospital and other facility costs
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Reasonable expenses involved for psychological counseling for the family
  • The loss of your child’s services
  • The loss of your child’s love and companionship
  • Any uninsured debts incurred by the child, including any debts which the parent has an obligation to pay on behalf of the child
  • The costs of administering the child’s estate, including reasonable legal fees.

Punitive damages are not allowed in Indiana.

What is the Statute of Limitations in Indiana?

For wrongful death, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the death. However, depending on whether the death resulted from medical malpractice, a defective product, or some other cause, the time might be calculated from the date of the act which led to the death or the date of the death itself.

When something goes wrong we are left to wonder.

Our investigative team goes to work immediately to uncover the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’, ‘why’ and ‘how’. We are committed to bringing together the most qualified experts available (irrespective of cost) to uncover what happened. Your experts will come from around the world if necessary. Wrongful death lawsuits can be complex, and the proficiency of your experts is crucial in both the investigation and litigation phases of your claim.

Holding the responsible party accountable will not bring closure, but financial resolution can help secure the hopes and aspirations your loved one had for the family. Although it may be difficult to discuss legal and financial issues while you are grieving, you owe it to yourself and the memory of your loved one to have a capable attorney on your side as you face an uncertain future. Attorney Mike Stephenson is committed to doing whatever is necessary to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family.

Wrongful death claims can be costly to pursue, and many law firms are not in a position to effectively reach a resolution in these cases. You can be assured that our attorneys are willing to go the distance and put our financial resources to work on behalf of your family and in the memory of your loved one. We offer free consultations and would like to discuss how we can be of service to you. Contact Mike today by calling 1-317-825-5200. Have You Helped Others Like Me?

We are grateful to have worked on behalf of the following families and value the trust they placed in our hands.

  • “If you’re searching for an attorney with integrity and true compassion, which often times seems to be a difficult task, then I recommend Michael Stephenson of McNeely Stephenson. This man represented me in a case involving my wife’s death and I can tell you with confidence that he is the real deal. It’s nice to meet an attorney possessing a heart and a conscience especially when the country is running over with ambulance chasing lawyers looking to make a buck at any cost. God bless you Mike. (And no, I’m not getting paid to post this)” – J.W.
  • Attorney Mike Stephenson was hired by the Estate of “D.P.” to pursue a medical malpractice claim against Community Hospital in Indianapolis, as well as a claim against a surgeon who failed to timely identify a small bowel obstruction. The matter went to trial, and a jury returned a verdict in favor of the estate for $8.5 million.
    Read Full Case Summary
  • “C.G.” was working at an expansion construction site in Indianapolis, Indiana, for a Kroger store. Proper safety measures were not taken to ensure that the electricity was turned off. He received a shock from a live wire while he was on the ladder and fell off the ladder to his death. After protracted litigation and appeals through both the state and federal courts, the estate was able to obtain a confidential settlement.
    Read Full Case Summary
  • Stephenson was hired by another attorney to assist in pursuing a case against Michelin on behalf of four children who lost both parents and three siblings when the vehicle that they were riding in rolled over. The case had been in litigation for more than two years when Stephenson became involved and, in less than nine months after his involvement, the case was brought to a conclusion for a confidential sum payable to the guardian of the estate for the benefit of the four surviving children.
    Read Full Case Summary
  • J.P. was a four-year-old boy who went in for a tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy. Three days after the surgery, J.P. was throwing up blood late in the afternoon. After seeking medical attention several times, an ambulance was called, and J.P. was taken to the hospital. He had such a small volume of blood in his system that starting an IV was virtually impossible. J.P. died from loss of blood. Amazingly, the medical review panel determined that there was a question of fact as to the child’s condition and did not render an opinion on the issue liability. Within 30 days of trial, the case was settled for a confidential sum.
    Read J.P.’s Full Story.
  • “A.M.” was 14 years old when she was riding as a front seat passenger in a Isuzu Rodeo being driven by her best friend. The vehicle had been recently purchased by her friend’s father, and a tragic accident occurred as the SUV was traveling down the interstate in Nevada. Mike Stephenson was hired to assist the plaintiff’s attorney; after two years of litigation, a confidential settlement was obtained at mediation payable to A.M.’s parents.
    Full Case Summary

Our attorneys bring the full weight of our 30+ years of experience and substantial financial resources to bear for each case we handle. If someone’s negligent or reckless actions have caused the death of a family member, it is your right to seek compensation. It is critical to have a knowledgeable and trustworthy legal professional representing you. Attorney Mike Stephenson has represented the survivors of wrongful death victims due to medical malpracticevehicle accidentsworkplace hazards, dangerous consumer products, and other causes of death.

Hand the worry over to us and let our resources back you up.

Mike Stephenson is a Martindale-Hubbell AV-rated attorney, the highest possible attorney peer rating. When you call Mike, you can have complete confidence — you are talking with an attorney who has more than 30 years’ experience offering compassionate and successful representation for his clients.

What is your next step? Contact Mike today using our contact form, or call 1-317-825-5200.

Indiana Wrongful Death Attorney, Mike Stephenson